Julien on Canadiens: 'I don't like them'

Julien on Canadiens: 'I don't like them'
December 4, 2013, 12:30 am
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(USA Today Sports Images)

WILMINGTON – Claude Julien wouldn’t deny that he worshiped the great Montreal Canadiens teams of yesteryear as a youngster growing up in Ottawa during the heyday of Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Lemaire, Guy Lafleur and the Mahovlich brothers in the early 1970’s dynastic years of the Habs. Since there was no Senators team in Ottawa, the Bleu, Blanc and Rouge were the team of choice for everyone in Quebec, and the eastern section of Ontario.

Those teams were so good and so beautifully graceful to watch on the ice, that it would have been impossible not to love them as a hockey-loving youngster growing up North of the Border.

“I grew up in Ottawa, and they didn’t have an [NHL] team back then,” said Julien. “So I was too close to that team we’re playing on Thursday. I don’t like them anymore.”

Those days ended when Julien was a member of the Quebec Nordiques as a player, but then got rekindled when the bench boss was himself named the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens 10 years ago. Those days ended with Julien fired from his best, and since then it’s been a burning hatred for the Habs franchise as their fiercest rival in Boston.

With the Bruins on tap to renew their acquaintances with the Canadiens on Thursday at the Bell Centre, Julien is fully in touch with his dislike for Boston’s closest current competitor in the Atlantic Division.

“There is plenty of hatred, and I say that as a rivalry, on both sides,” said Julien. “From the time I was with the Nordiques I hated the Canadiens, and yet I grew up a Canadiens fan. Then you go back and work there [in Montreal], and then you become a fan again.

“Now I’m with the Boston Bruins, and rivalry-wise you don’t like them. It really is deep down where you are, and how you feel. Right now I don’t like [the Canadiens], and I really don’t like them on that side because I am a Boston Bruin right now.”

Julien has clearly and fully bought into the Bruins way of thinking after spending seven years in Boston, and winning a Stanley Cup with the Original Six franchise. There is undoubtedly an extra spring in his step when he’s behind the visiting bench at the Bell Centre gearing up against the storied Habs franchise, and perhaps that’s not such a bad thing at all no matter what the reason behind it.